We are standing outside Nyayo House, the one-stop shop for all things immigration, whose basement is also said to have housed torture chambers during Moi’s time. You stand in line waiting for the security check, only for your bag to be prodded haphazardly and you waved on insignificantly. If you’re going to do something, might as well do it well.
We proceed to the entrance when we hear an officer in military uniform shouting at a young man who must have been in his late teens or very early twenties, “YOU COME TO KENYA TO BOTHER POLICE OFFICERS?!” The young man walks on, and infuriated, the officer continues to shout and repeat his question. He follows the young man and though a distance away, we can hear quite loud and clear the same question being shouted. We can’t hear what the young man says but the same questions are angrily repeated in increasing pitches. Unsatisfied apparently with the responses he’s getting and seemingly high off power, the officer removes the one meter rifle from his shoulder and shoves the young man. He points the rifle at him and continues to shove him with it until he is out of the gate. I hope it ended there, but only God knows…
And we wonder why we have enemies of the state when we humiliate, degrade, strip people of their dignity, point a gun at them and just make them feel utterly worthless. As a good friend says, “don’t take the job more seriously than it takes you” and that’s exactly what this officer was doing. I don’t know what the young man said to the officer, but the reaction was unwarranted and overblown. When the officer could have easily let the situation pass, he made it a point to showcase his authority and flaunt his power. It’s shameful that we are so power hungry that we use every opportunity to abuse it, and go on a power trip.
We need to end police brutality – let’s start with citizen policing.